For most of NZ life is chugging on — albeit bleaker than usual, with wild weather, winter coming on, a nasty budget expected, prices rising, a stalled economy and so on. But spare a thought for earthquake ravaged Christchurch. For much of the city life is still far from normal. Buildings and roads are extensively damaged. The city centre and many businesses are closed. Many toilets don’t work. Some friends and family have left the city, some may never return. Government support is badly misdirected or is winding down. The weeks are lengthening in to hard grind. It is all going to hit some people pretty hard:
Quake victims will need long term ‘professional help’
Canterbury residents were left with “no sense of control over how they live” following the two earthquakes, the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor says. Sir Peter Gluckman said for many people the quakes of September 4, last year and February 22 were “disempowering events” and that it was important to regain control to combat psychological responses such as numbness, depression, despair and anger.
There have been hundreds of aftershocks in Canterbury since September. The latest was at 3.04am today [Tuesday] and measured 5.3 on the Richter scale. Gluckman said most people were resilient and would recover from the effects of the two quakes. However, up to 10% or more would require continued “professional help” and “specialised care”, Gluckman said.
He also warned the continuing aftershocks “may well extend the recovery process”.
“Some of the population may experience on-going feelings of insecurity, uncertainty, loss of trust in scientific information, continued hyper-vigilance and disturbed sleep,” he said. He said children aged one to five may exhibit fear of separation, strangers and experience sleep disturbance. Women, particularly mothers of young women, and people with a prior history of mental illness also appeared to be more vulnerable than other groups, he said. …
Gluckman said there were four stages of disaster recovery:
– An initial heroic phase in which people do not count the costs.
– A honeymoon phase in which people see some help arriving and feel the situation will improve.
– A long-term rehabilitation phase in which people realise how long the recovery will take and may become angry and frustrated.
– A phase in which people appreciate that things can never return to exactly what they were.
Gluckman said the people of Christchurch were in the third phase of rehabilitation, which could last for some people for up to nine months. …
If you live in earthquake damaged Canterbury or Christchurch, share your stories here. What is life like in the city? How are you coping? What should be the top priority for the government?